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Southampton Town zoning law tries to get in front of lawsuits

Southampton Town Hall is shown.

Southampton Town Hall is shown. (Credit: Erin Geismar)

Trying to get ahead of possible lawsuits, the Southampton Town board has changed the town’s zoning code, eliminating what had been designated as its “tidal floodplain overlay district” and adopting new zoning regulations to effectively do the same thing.

Town officials said the action taken last week was required because, in September, State Supreme Court Justice William Rebolini ruled that while waterfront properties can be strictly regulated, a similar law covering construction on land adjacent to those properties in the Village of Quogue was invalid because it went beyond what is permitted by state law covering coastal erosion.

The land involved is generally between the formal coastal erosion hazard area line and Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet, and can be the shoreline lot or 400 feet landward of the erosion hazard line east of Shinnecock Inlet.

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The Quogue law struck down was copied directly from Southampton Town code, and so the town board — after two public hearings — deleted its tidal floodplain regulations and made other changes in its complex coastal hazard regulations. They said that by changing the zoning code, the legal problem no longer applies.

It took two resolutions totaling 33 pages to make the changes, even though the new zoning code provisions generally mirror the old regulations.

Above: Southampton Town Hall

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